Knicks Draft Rautins and Fields

38th pick: Andy Rautins
[NBADraft.Net, Draft Express, HoopsAnalyst]

39th pick: Landry Fields
[NBADraft.Net, Draft Express, HoopsAnalyst]

In my mock draft, I grabbed two guys that wouldn’t have fit D’Antoni’s system very well. It appears that Donnie Walsh had the exact opposite idea. Although the Knicks needed some defensive big men to protect the paint, New York turned to players that are known for their scoring and are likely to fit into D’Antoni’s offense.

To say that these picks were unexpected is an understatement. Neither DraftExpress nor NBADraft.Net had either player in their mock draft. Much like past picks of Renaldo Balkman (Rondo), Jordan Hill (Ty Lawson), Toney Douglas (DaJuan Blair), and Channing Frye (Andrew Bynum) there will be questions going forward whether the Knicks should have taken a higher profile player (Varnado, Stephenson, etc.)

Last year D’Antoni had two players that didn’t necessarily fit his mold, as Jordan Hill appeared to be too raw offensively and Toney Douglas was a point guard that isn’t a natural distributor. This year should be different. Rautins ability to hit the three ball at a high rate (40.75) combined with strong court vision should make him a good option in the half court. Meanwhile Fields ability to get to the hole and draw contact (8.8 FTA/40 pace adjusted) should be a much needed addition to a team that was second worst in the NBA at getting to the free throw line. Hence Knick fans should expect more playing time from these two players than Hill or Douglas received last year.

As for whether or not these players will pan out, the pundits are skeptical. HoopsAnalyst’s Ed Weiland said that Rautins “looks like nothing more than a very valuable college role player” and NBADraft.Net questioned his “athleticism, size and strength.” On the other hand Weiland speculated that Fields “good enough to find a place in a rotation and possibly stick in the league for a long time.” The next step in these player’s evaluation will be in July’s summer league, which is usually a good yard stick for how one will transition from college to the NBA.

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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

120 thoughts to “Knicks Draft Rautins and Fields”

  1. This is from the Knicks blog. Jordan is a lock but also:

    “I hear the reported other “possible” second rounder, is NOT Hobson.”

    So not Vasquez. Makes sense. Donnie doesn’t want to spend 1st round cap money.

  2. Torrance, Collins, Huertel, Schved and Randle all still out there at the pg position…
    Zoubek, Raduljica and Parahouski out there at center.

  3. It seems like just yesterday the Knicks used their 2nd round pick to select an Orangeman who could shoot and do little else… Hopefully this one pans out better than the last one, who’s currently enjoying enjoying the French culture playing for BCM Gravelines Dunkerque Grand Littoral.

  4. Um – who’s that?

    Hint – the Knicks traded for him with the understanding that he’d play in Europe and then he refused and he did not make the Knicks out of training camp so the pick was wasted.

  5. 2 time Knick legend Demitus Nichols…

    whose senior year stats at Syracuse were actually better than Rautins’ across the board.

  6. Rasheed Wallace retiring doesn’t do anything to the Celtics’ cap space, right?

  7. If PP opts out, then it certainly does.

    How? Retired players still count against the cap, right?

  8. While Rautins and Fields might both wind up being contributers, there’s a good chance one (or possibly both) might have gone undrafted- and as Brian pointed out undrafted players are going to be tripping over each other to get on the Knicks summer league team given how many open roster spots there are going to be. I’m guessing the agents of every undrafted pg, pf, and c are trying to get through to Walsh right now. Given that, it’d have nice to see the Knicks take a higher risk/higher reward guy with at least one of their picks.

  9. Could be worse. Honestly, second rounders are just invited walk-ons. Rautins, Jordan and Fields don’t have guaranteed contracts, and they’re guaranteed nothing. Of course, our bench is empty and we need the bodies, but if we invite Landesberg and Torrance and Randle and Scheyer and so on, they’ll all in the same boat.

    But it’s not like we’re talking about future stars. Even on this team, these players are the last ones on the bench, once everything clears.

  10. I am not too impressed with this draft. I hope everything turns out in the end, but it seems like neither of these guys was going to be drafted (based on all the mock drafts). I think we should have probably just hoped they both fell to the undrafted pile and picked them up then. Instead we could have gotten big men in Jarvis Varnado and Solomon Alabi, or a better guard like Willie Warren. Ultimately, these are second round picks and whoever we got I really did not expect them to make that much impact, but in the case of both picks this seemed to be a reach.

    Count me as one disappointed Knick fan. Let’s hope we do much better in free agency.

  11. Out of the two picks I was much more concerned about the Rautins pick. Then I read the Hoopsanalyst link provided above and then I got even more concerned. The last line of that analysis says it all:

    “Rautins looks like nothing more than a very valuable college role player and such players rarely make it.”

    Even with all the roster spots the Knicks have to fill, I think it will be a real struggle for Rautins to make the team.

  12. I dunno, supernova, what do you think the same analysis would have been for, say, Damon Jones coming out of school?

  13. Guys, again every single freakin player the Knicks were talked about really wanting and potentially moving into the 1st-round to draft were all gone by the time they picked. Brackins, Crawford, Vazquez, Hobson and Armon Johnson, not to mention Whiteside and Terrico White who had been linked to them in some mock drafts were all gone by the time the Knicks picked.

    Rautins is one of the best 3pt shooters in college who can also pass and played for one of the best teams in the country in the Big East. Fields was arguably the best player in the Pac 10 and grades out pretty well with the advanced stats guys and apparently has one helluva vertical. I wasnt expecting nothing special tonight in terms of draft picks unless they traded into the 1st round which they didnt do so whatever Im just gonna wait and see these guys and whoever else they invite in Summer League and evaluate them a little more at that time.

  14. Ill say one thing for Fields, just saw some highlights of him on YouTube and they were certainly pretty good. lol

  15. “I dunno, supernova, what do you think the same analysis would have been for, say, Damon Jones coming out of school?”

    I am not familiar with Damon Jones, but again, if he was a player that was as “lightly regarded” as both Rautins and Fields, then I would say it would be also be a mistake. In this instance, they picked two guys, who were not listed on anyone else’s mock drafts. I would say based on that and what I have read, it seems unlikely they would have been chosen at all.

    A better strategy in my opinion would be to take players with more well rounded games such as the one’s I listed before. Then to scoop up the likes of the Rautin’s and Field’s after the draft. Like someone mentioned earlier, the Knicks would be an enticing place for all those undrafted players, since they do have so many roster slots to fill.

    If they really were so in love with these guys, they could have even maybe moved down and picked up additional picks, while still choosing them even later in the second round.

    I realize both these guys fit Mike D’s style of play, but I still believe it was a reach, when compared to the other quality players on the board. For me it was Varnado. You could argue that Varnado is a one dimensional player, who simply blocks shots. Well I think he has more upside than that, but even so the Knicks sorely need an inside shot blocking presence. Instead they went for the one dimensional three point shooter.

    Finally, I believe the draft at this point had quality big men on the board, and fortunately that was what the Knicks sorely need, along with a point guard. Guess what they got neither by choosing both Rautins and Fields.

    Overall, Donnie Walsh, knows a heck of a lot more about basketball than I, and his history of picks has been pretty good. I really hope this one also works out, but in the end my belief is that these guys would never have been drafted. Under my scenario we could have drafted Varnado, Alibi, and then picked up Rautins and Fields later. Especially, with second rounders, few pan out, so it would have been the old saying, “strength in numbers”. The more bodies they could get, the greater likelihood that one or two would work out.

  16. Dunno about the whole there were quality big men left when the Knicks drafted part because if they were truly quality big men there is no way they wouldve still been available when the Knicks drafted. Plus if anything apparently the Knicks did pick up Jerome Jordan who is a big guy whose game appears to be more well-rounded than Alibi and Varnado who I both saw in college quite a bit and to me both have little chance to make it in the NBA and will probably be NBDL All-Stars.

    The more I read about Fields the more I am shocked that he wasnt even considered a prospect at all to be drafted. 4 year player at Stanford who is 6’7 long as hell with a great vertical and not only improved all 4 years but was exceptional this year granted on a horrible Pac-10 team but he shot close to 50% each of the past 2 seasons and gets a ton of FT attempts. Again dont wanna go by highlights but I looked up some highlights of him tonight and I think he will be a pleasant surprise come Summer League time.

  17. Chad Ford gives the Knicks a D saying:

    “I can understand taking Rautins somewhat. Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni loves shooters and Rautins is the J.J. Redick of the draft.

    But drafting Fields is puzzling. Yes, he’s a great athlete who was one of the best scorers in the Pac 10 last year. But he was not ranked in our top 100 and I couldn’t find another scout who had him in the top 60.

    Maybe the Knicks know something that we don’t, but with so much talent left on the board, it feels as though New York may regret its decisions eventually.”

    I don’t disagree but to Brian’s point, Chad acts as is the fact that Fields is not on his top 100 completely supersedes the notion that he’s a great athlete and one of the best scorers in his conference. I understand the fury over the Jordan Hill pick but what do people expect at pick #39??

  18. “I don’t disagree but to Brian’s point, Chad acts as is the fact that Fields is not on his top 100 completely supersedes the notion that he’s a great athlete and one of the best scorers in his conference.”

    Exactly. As Moneyball showed us, scouts often care more about a “winner” than a guy who looks good on paper. And the reality is that those guys who project well on paper are more likely — and it’s proven that it is significantly more likely — that those players will perform well. PAWS40 isn’t some kind of voodoo black magic statistic: it’s an aggregate of the basketball events that a player enacts on the floor, then adjusted for his position (and obviously, time). Fields has an outstanding score– it’s better than John Wall! But he plays on a (probably nerdy) Stanford team that was terrible, so he’d never see ESPN screen time unless he jacked up 50 shots and scored 50 (which, in my opinion, wouldn’t be very valuable to one’s team, unless they’re even worse than 1.0 PPS). With numbers (and apparently athleticism) like Fields has, I can only guess that it’s his team’s poor play that dropped him so low. I mean, seriously, Daniel Orton? Why? Because he played alongside the best big man in NCAA basketball?

  19. And by the way, most of the reason that everyone was so amped about Blair and Lawson last year was because of their outstanding PAWS40 scores. Can someone remind me: did Blair play well this season?

  20. Another thought: if what JVG said is true; that the only thing FA’s care about is which team gives them the best chance to win aren’t the Knicks’ hope of getting LeBron over now that Miami and Chicago have space to sign two additional max’s?

    I mean the Bulls can sign Bosh, LeBron, Deng can contribute or be traded for a better player, not to mention Rose, Noah, Taj. The Lakers can work sign and trades w/ Bynum and Odom, etc.

    The space for two max FAs WAS our only trump card if winning is the only important factor, right?

  21. Yeah honestly, there weren’t such better options left on the board anyway. I mean have any of you heard of Varnado until this years tournament? He’s a 4 year senior with ONE skill that might not even translate to the NBA. Jordan at least is a 7 footer with some offense. Willie Warren screams Mike Conley to me. A guy that got production based off of a great big man. And his skill set is too close to Walker’s who I like better. Alabi, Richards and Gallon all could have more upside but are bigger risks, huge unknowns and in Gallon’s case, maybe there is a character issue? The only case that would’ve made more sense to me would have been to take J. Jordan and Devin Ebanks with the 2 picks – and we ended up getting Jordan anyway. So I guess they liked Fields over Ebanks and they could be right. Amongst the guards, I guess you could have argued taking one of the undrafted guys over Rautins, but it looks like you can get those guys anyway.
    It’s amazing to me after last year, but only 4 point guards were taken in the draft this year, 2 from U. of Kentucky. What a difference a year makes!

  22. the rautins pick was a good pick. I think he will do well in D’antoni’s system

  23. To me the Knicks had a great opportunity to make a statement to LeBron James and didn’t take advantage. You might say that the team shouldn’t be run with one guy who probably won’t come in mind, but it’s been run with him in mind for 2 years now.

    LeBron is on record saying or implying both that he values defense over offense, and that he doesn’t think D’Antoni coaches defense. With both Alabi and Varnado and Ebanks on the board the Knicks had a chance to show LeBron that they do care about defense. Instead they fed into the argument against the Knicks that Chicago and Miami and everyone else will be making to LeBron this summer: D’Antoni plays small-ball with a bunch of shooters and doesn’t care about defense… he’ll never win a title. In the end a couple of 2nd rounders are unlikely to make LeBron’s decision for him, but man was this an opportunity for some great LeBron PR: “Knicks take 2 defensive Cs… they do care about defense.”
    Biggest things the Knicks can do now are 1. sign Pritchard (who is one of the best decision makers in the league and would hopefully eventually fire D’Antoni once Walsh steps aside) and 2. trade Curry for a real NBA player.

    As far as the actual picks:
    -If the Jordan thing is true I’m a lot happier.
    -Rautins has an NBA skill (a lot of 2nd rounders don’t), but drafting a guy whose absolute upside is to be a 15 mpg specialist is always sketchy. If you miss your upside to be a 40 mpg guy there’s a lot of room to still be a productive NBA player, if you miss your upside of being a fringe rotation/end of the bench guy you are out of the league. I do think Rautins is more athletic and versatile than most give him credit for, but considering that most give him zero credit that’s not saying TOO much.
    -I don’t know much about Fields. The “he could have gone undrafted” argument stands but if he’s who the Knicks loved I’m ok with it. They targeted Toney Douglas before last year’s draft and I love him.

  24. -I don’t know much about Fields. The “he could have gone undrafted” argument stands but if he’s who the Knicks loved I’m ok with it. They targeted Toney Douglas before last year’s draft and I love him.

    By the way, Yahoo! had Fields going to the Spurs in the second round at #49, so it’s not like everyone agreed that he was not going to be drafted (this is not really in response to you, Ted, but more to the general “He wasn’t even in my top 100!” stuff from guys like Chad Ford).

  25. @37

    There was a TON of talent on the board for that point in the draft. Alabi, Butler, Ebanks, Warren, Lawal, Stevenson, Robinson, and Gallon were all considered potential 1st rounders (Varnado at times, too, and some had Ryan Richards that high… plus Sherron Collins before his post-season weight issues). No one would have been shocked had a team taken one of those guys in the early 20s and they were all on the board at 38/39. As Thomas B. pointed out in his pre-draft analysis, this was a wide open draft. Chances are there will be plenty of room for criticism if the Knicks 2 picks flop, because out of those 8 potential 1st still on the board plus everyone else taken there should be some NBA players. Hopefully they don’t flop and this was a solid step in the rebuilding effort.

  26. Ted, your point is not lost entirely; if the Knicks got an exciting foreign player a la Splitter or Scola or something or a guy w/ big potential upside it’s not a bad selling point to free agents.

    BUT think of what LeBron James is going to have thrown at him next week and then reconsider whether the #38 and 39 picks in a weak draft were “a great opportunity to make a statement.”

  27. While I agree 100% that Chad Ford’s top 100 means very little in the long-run, I can respect him saying that because he spends a lot of time scouting these kids and that’s his opinion on Fields right or wrong. (Nice for him that he is never held accountable for these statements in hindsight.) Short-run I put a bit of stock into Ford over the other mocks because he claims to base them largely on conversations with NBA scouts and decision makers. If he says no one he talked to had Fields being drafted there might be something to it, but for the Knicks there’s also something to locking up the top guy left on your board when you have the chance. Long-run I put more stock in and draftexpress because I see Ford as an establishment lackey who just spews the conventional wisdom any jerk-off could write. Gottlieb is the worst to me, though, if I ever get a punching bag or get into shooting I might alternate pictures of him and Bill Simmons as targets.

  28. @42

    Because I speculate that LeBron thinks of D’Antoni as a Euro-panzy who doesn’t care about defense and will never win a title (based largely on a direct quote from LeBron), I thought this was a great chance to make a low-risk statement. Actions speak louder than words, and when LeBron asked Walshtoni if they value defense the Knicks could point to their draft as a case of we will go for defense when it’s the best value play (they can do that to a small extent with Jerome Jordan, but he’s known for being soft so it doesn’t really work…). All it would have cost them was a couple of 2nd rounders. Worst case they take 2 shots at bigmen. That’s what I would have done, personally.

    When LeBron has things thrown at him next week, one will be that not only do the Knicks have no talent but they also don’t care about defense and can never win it all with that system. Of those three accusations, the biggest one they both had to and had a chance to disprove was that they don’t care about defense. Anyone they drafted 38 & 39 wasn’t going to help their talent argument much (getting 2 more shooters really doesn’t help because that’s what they already had). The system is what it is, they have to convince LeBron about it. Defensive commitment is actually important and they had a legit chance to show it in this draft…

    Random thought about them being available as undrafted FAs… I don’t think Rautins would have gone undrafted, because of his obvious NBA skill as a shooter. Fields maybe yes, maybe no… The Knicks might not have known, but if he was clearly the top guy on their board it was the right strategical decision. (Whether it was actually the right decision remains to be seen.)

  29. So you’re saying Walshtoni could have picked up two second rounders that would have (to some extent) quashed the notion in LeBron’s mind that D’Antoni is a “Euro-panzy” who doesn’t care about D? LBJ knows what D’Antoni’s team in Phoenix did and how Coach D’Antoni likes to play, two second rounders will likely not be core players and will not change that.

    And you think in weighing his options; staying close to Akron, playing in NYC or LA or Brooklyn, joining a strong Bulls core and staying in the Midwest, or joining D-Wade in Miami the draft picks will enter James’s thought process? Each team he can potentially sign with will have its pros and cons and second round picks will not do much to change them before the players have had a chance to pan out.

  30. As a Knicks fan it’s always frustrating to watch the rich get richer on draft night… Loved the Lakers draft. Thought that was the best value draft out there. With a mid- and late-2nd they took two guys with lottery upside. Two guys who are good passers for their positions. Two guys who really fit what they do. And, of course, two guys who have very little pressure to perform immediately.
    Liked the Clippers’ draft a lot too, as they added 3 potential rotation players around Griffin. So, good night for LA.
    Magic made good use of their picks, to me, too. High upside guys late in both rounds, but also both guys who have NBA bodies that give them solid floors.
    Boston, SA, Phoenix, Portland… all contenders who potentially got impact rotation players through the draft. (Thought Harangody was among the worst picks in the draft given the talent still on the board, but Bradley’s upside was a nice pick-up as the Big 3 declines. At worst Bradley might be a Keyon Dooling type.)
    So, most of my favorite drafts of teams outside the top 5 belonged to contenders… so not fair.
    Kahn sure is a weird duck. Starting to think he might blow the Rubio situation and the Knicks could be the beneficiary.

  31. Oh, and Kings probably had my favorite draft overall. There’s a chance they got the two best bigmen in the draft… would be really excited right now if I were a Kings fan.


    Yes, clearly I think that or I wouldn’t have said it. That should be pretty clear. I don’t think it’s an enormous part of the equation, but I think it was a missed opportunity to nudge him in our direction.

    Perception can be more powerful than reality. The 2nd round picks would have acted as a symbol of the Knicks commitment to defense.

    What did D’Antoni’s teams do in Phoenix? Not even as much as the Cavs have done since LeBron’s been there, about what Alvin Gentry’s team did in Phoenix… LeBron wants to win 5-10 titles and go down as THE BEST PLAYER EVER TO PLAY THE GAME OF BASKETBALL, he doesn’t want to win 60 games and make the Conference Finals and go down as a good HOF player.
    Not too many teams win championships without top 10 defenses. The Showtime Lakers, for example, had a top 10 defense every season they won a title. The Knicks are not on track, should they sign LeBron and Bosh, to have a top 10 defense. Cleveland is. Chicago is. Miami at least made an effort with Varnado that along with Pat Riley’s track record ad Spoestra’s coaching strengths signals they will do everything they can to have a top 10 defense. LeBron is on record buying into the “defense wins championships philosolphy.” The Knicks have made ZERO effort to address their horrible defense in the last two years. About the most effort they made was giving Saer Sene a 10 day contract and dumping Q for Darko… They have fed the perception that they don’t care about defense. This draft was a great opportunity to take an action (which would have spoken louder than words) since most of the value on the board when the Knicks were up was defensive-minded players. At this point I honestly question whether the Knicks decision makers give two shits about defense, and I’m a diehard Knicks fan.

  32. I think Walsh is taking a lot of heat for two 2nd rounders. It’s very difficult to know which of these guys is going to be NBA caliber and which is not, so why not take the ones who can contribute in D’Antoni ball?

    It’s not like we took the stiff who’s lack of movement makes him look like a tree in the field. We took a guy with a high %FG which should translate, and a guy that was the leading scorer of Pac-10, so he has some skills. At the very worst, one of the two can be a role player.

  33. It’s interesting if you look at the differentials btwn average points for and against in 2010 of the teams competing for Lebron next year.

    The breakdown: CLE +6.5, MIA +2.3, CHI -1.6, NY -3.8, NJ -9.1

    Of course, Cleveland w/o Lebron is a completely different team, and even though Miami has been gutted, they were really only Wade anyway – the rest were an assortment of average players. But it does show you that Chicago isn’t really very far above NYC in talent and they still don’t have 2 max slots.
    If Miami can trade Beasley and get room for 3 max slots (and even if they just have 2 slots and a 10 mil slot) you have to think they have the advantage right now if you just go by winning standards.
    They also had a good draft getting a true center (Pittman), a shotblocker (Varnado), and two nice bench forwards (Williams, Butler). And they still have Chalmers at the point.
    If this happens, the rest of the league is toast. Chalmers, Wade, James, Bosh, Pittman or some other center would definitely be the best team in the league. Even a Chalmers, Wade, James, D. Lee, Pittman with a bench of Beasley, Varnado, etc. lineup would be unreal.

  34. i think we really need to chill out about the SECOND ROUND PICKS. The players left in the second round wouldn’t be second rounders if they were obviously awesome players that would make Lebron come here. Rautins is probably another attempt to get what Eddie House was supposed to be. Landry Fields, who I never heard of, might be a preemptive move for a Chandler trade, for all we know. And then we traded for Jerome Jordan, the big that everyone wants. Not sure what all the fuss is. And as has been mentioned, all are highly rated by advanced stats guys. You would think all the people who desperately wanted us to sign Nick Fazekas would love these picks.

    In any case, I HIGHLY doubt that Lebron is sweating what 2nd rounders we got. I think he probably is far more concerned with Gallo, Toney Douglas, Chandler on the court, and D’Antoni and Walsh in leadership. If anything, if D’Antoni agreed to hire a real defensive coordinator, that would make much more of an impression than drafting guys that were not good enough to be picked by the 37 teams before them, and probably have an immeasurably higher chance of playing in Europe than becoming a star.

  35. 1) Ok, I thought the suggestion that two second rounders would enter LeBron’s thought process in making a $70 million decision while uprooting his family, and sculpting his legacy was worth double checking. He prob. cares more about the school systems in the city plays for, as a point of reference.

    2) My point was the D’Antoni’s image is cemented in LeBron’s mind and second round picks will do little to change that. But even so, your assertion that Gentry has been much better is wrong. D’Antoni won 60+ games twice in Phoenix! He got to the Conf. finals twice and would have had a shot at a third time (or more) but Amare and Diaw were suspended.

    3) “LeBron wants to win 5-10 titles and go down as THE BEST PLAYER EVER TO PLAY THE GAME OF BASKETBALL, he doesn’t want to win 60 games and make the Conference Finals and go down as a good HOF player.” And two first rounders will not do much to shape his perception one way or the other.

  36. I loved the Kings’ draft, too… Geoff Petrie didn’t forget how to put a team together.

    And considering how the 2nd round (at least) is a gamble, I would have liked to see the Knicks roll the dice on a bigger player. I saw Varnado play a lot, and he is pretty impressive (for a #38). Athletic, great timing on the blocks, some rudimentary moves and agility (better than Thabeet, probably, although of course he’s 4 or 5 inches shorter). And he’s still gangly – you can imagine him growing into a real NBA center’s body.

    But I’m not gonna be too harsh. You can’t even start to settle these arguments until you see the guys play. And Fields looks like he could be a sleeper. Rautins is more depressing. If you want to be optimistic, you could argue that in a second-rounder, what you can realistically hope to find is one really good skill. And Rautins can shoot. It’s long-term thinking, as opposed to finding someone who can step in right away for a messy roster like the Knicks. But if he CAN really shoot, there’s probably a place in the NBA.

    Funny, this conversation will seem like such an afterthought in six days. I don’t think any draft pick aside from a top-3 would sway LeBron, one way or the other.

    Defense is not more important than offense, IMO… although like Brian mentioned yesterday, it’s easier to find value (“Moneyball!”) on the defensive side.

  37. “At this point I honestly question whether the Knicks decision makers give two shits about defense, and I’m a diehard Knicks fan.”

    It’s kind of sad, because reports from back in 2008 seemed to suggest exactly the opposite of Walsh, when people were unsure if we’d hire D’Antoni in the first place.

    From Hahn’s blog (5/6/08):

    “I talked to a team executive from the West who said Walsh has often debated style philosophies with other team executives around the league over the years.

    ‘He has had numerous philosophical conversations regarding the new Suns style versus the classic style — the Heat with Riley and the Spurs and Boston,’ the executive said. ‘We usually ended up in the same place: the classic-style teams seem to be sizing for rings.'”

    Walsh probably thought to himself, This guy’s teams in Phoenix won a lot, and he knows all the Team USA players.


    I’d love to see Pritchard here. I was a little shocked they let him go.

  38. I am not familiar with Damon Jones, but again, if he was a player that was as “lightly regarded” as both Rautins and Fields, then I would say it would be also be a mistake. In this instance, they picked two guys, who were not listed on anyone else’s mock drafts. I would say based on that and what I have read, it seems unlikely they would have been chosen at all.

    Damon Jones was a University of Houston player who was not even drafted in 1998 and went on to play until this year and was a key part of the NBA Champion Miami Heat. His only skill was that he was a great shooter.

    If you’re a great shooter, teams will find a way to keep you around.

  39. For my money, it’s hard not to be a little excited about Landry Fields. Chad Ford’s comments say more about the scouts than Fields, imo. I’ve seen him play. He has more straight-line than lateral quicks, but no obvious fatal flaw that makes you feel like the kid can’t play. He lists at 6’6.5 in stocking feet with a 6’9.5 wingspan. Most impressively you see steady improvement over his 4 seasons. He added 10 points to his TS% (46-56%) from freshman to senior year. He cut his 3pt attempts from 53 to 17% while boosting his FT/FGA from 19 to 51%. As a freshman and soph he was a crappier version of Rautins. By junior and senior year he was living at the free throw line, with enough range on his shot to keep defenses honest. So, he’s clearly coachable. What’s not to like for the #38 selected player?

    He turns 22 on June 28th. So, even though he’s a 4 year guy it’s not like he’s peaked athletically. To me he’s a more polished version of Wilson Chandler coming out of school. I just don’t see where anyone can have a problem with this pick in the late 30s. This guy has a decent shot to be a real gem.

    As for Rautins, meh. He’s a one-trick pony. I would have preferred Vernardo, who is likewise a one-trick pony. The issue with him is whether he can really play minutes at the 5 defensively. He’s so skinny. I’m not so sure he can play much 5 as a defensive specialist at his weight, and he gives you NOTHING offensively at either the 4 or 5. If he can only play the 4 I think he loses some value. I think that may be why he dropped.

    I had a chance to see Jerome Jordan play live at Duke this past season. I certainly don’t buy the whole “he has no motor” bit. He’s not an explosive athlete, which some people demand from wirey big guys. Jordan is more of a guy that can run all day long than a skywalker. Gasol is the quintessential big of that type. (I’m not saying Jordan is Gasol-lite; exclusively a style comparison.) I think that kind of big is more valuable for D’Antoni than for some others, especially should the Knicks be able to get him on the cheap.

    As for passing on Stevenson — good; all of Ben Gordon’s selfishness without the explosiveness. Arizona was after him, but he went to Cincy so I paid attention. Color me very unimpressed.

    I don’t buy Tiny Gallon one bit. He was an embarrassment at OU for his unwillingness to even feign getting into basketball shape (while Dexter Pittman was working his ass off). At least Ollie Miller or John “Hot Plate” Williams could impress with their overall play. Gallon’s a decent rebounder, but drifted outside a lot because he is too fat to finish. For my money, he’s a bum — and I almost never say that about a college kid.

  40. @48 and 50

    I agree that there’s little need to grade a draft before the players even sign, let alone play a single game. If, looking back in say 3-5 years, Walsh found one rotation player between the two picks (and possible Jordan) I would be happy with the draft. However, the draft is not above reproach. If we look back in 3-5 years and say that he passed on a few better players who were obvious candidates at that point in the draft (as I mentioned earlier there were at least 8 guys on the board who were consensus 1st round candidates) then Walsh screwed up. For me personally it was frustrating to see Walsh pass on guys I knew and liked for a guy I didn’t really like and a guy I didn’t knoww… and it’s not even like he made raw, high-upside plays. Donnie has a very good draft record, though, so I’m hopeful about these two or three guys. The only point I’m trying to make is that I saw an opportunity for the Knicks to strengthen their sales pitch to LeBron at a low cost and they ignored it. After the HUGE cost they paid to strengthen their pitch by dumping Jeffries… that was frustrating.

    “i think we really need to chill out about the SECOND ROUND PICKS… Not sure what all the fuss is.”
    People are a little weirded out that with 8 1st round candidates on the board the Knicks took 2 guys most people thought would go undrafted… I think that’s a pretty normal reaction.

    “In any case, I HIGHLY doubt that Lebron is sweating what 2nd rounders we got.”
    It’s the impression it gives. It gives the impression that the Knicks don’t care about defense. The same impression they’ve given for two straight seasons under D’Antoni while they have stayed away from playing personnel that made sense defensively and given very little effort on the defensive side of the ball. This would have been a concrete example of caring about defense. I’m just saying I would have seriously considered that strategy and I would have seriously considered Alabi and Varnado because they looked like two of the best players on the board and play the most valuable position in the game.

  41. I dont know if this was mentioned but Rasheed retiring and leaving 12 Mil on the table. However , he is not filing for retirement yet leaving the celtics an option to trade his contract for assets and then he will retire taking off 12 mil from the cap to the lucky recepient.

    How can we get involved in this ! This seems like a dream scenerio for us to get rid of curry now . a Gallo Curry offer would certaintly be delicious for them however would you do it? Chandler curry a no brainer.

  42. More Fields love…

    I took a quick peak at the game logs, as I gotta run to a meeting. As many of you know I try to keep up with Pac10 and Big12 teams. I didn’t see much Stanford this year, just parts of one game. I saw more of them Fields’ junior season. The conference was atrocious this year — not for lack of talent, but the league is SUPER young.

    So, I thought I’d take a look at Stanford’s non-conference schedule. Not horrible. Three post-season teams from BCS conferences. They had back-to-back November games vs. UVa and @Kentucky. They also had consecutive December games versus Ok. State, Northwestern, and Texas Tech. Stanford went 1-4 in those games.

    Against that 5-team slate Fields averaged (unadjusted) 24.2 pts, 11.6 rebs, and 3.4 ast on 9 fta (including 14 fta @ Kentucky). On the season his unadjusted stats were 22 pts, 8.8 rebs, and 2.8 ast on 8 fta. The kid has played well against “real” competition.

    Props to Walshtoni’s scouting team for doing their homework, because NOBODY was talking about this kid.

  43. @49

    I don’t think last season’s point differentials are that important. If one of those teams add LeBron and Bosh their offense would instantly become top 10 or better. That’s why I think defense is so important, because LeBron and Bosh alone give you a good offense. Bosh is a defensive liability or at least not an asset. If he’s your 5, good luck being a top 10 defense. You’d need strong defenders 1-4 and a good bench. A 4 or bench player who can body-up on the big scoring Cs (I know, there are only a few: Bynum, Yao, Howard, maybe Cousins…).

    “they were really only Wade anyway – the rest were an assortment of average players.”

    Average overall, maybe, and below average offensively. But that was a good defensive team. Their defense drove the team, their offense was worse than the Knicks’. JO and Haslem with Anthony off the bench is a solid defensive frontcourt.

    “Chalmers, Wade, James, Bosh, Pittman or some other center would definitely be the best team in the league.”

    In the short-term I think the Lakers are right there. They can easily find a PG as good as Chalmers (even Fisher/Farmar might be as good), Kobe is about as good as Wade, Pau is better than Bosh, and the difference between Bynum/Odom and “Pittman”/6th man may very well compensate for the difference between LeBron and Artest (I know that sounds crazy, but I believe it). Basically, both have 3 top 20 players, but I’ll give the Lakers the short-term advantage with their size and the depth Artest and Odom provide. I know people will think I’m crazy, but I think the Lakers are right there with that Heat team. That means if they hold it together the Celtics might be right there too. Orlando could make a couple lucky moves and be right there. If Splitter and Anderson amaze maybe the Spurs too. And then there are young teams with high lottery picks who might improve going forward. LeBron/Wade/Bosh would be an incredible core, but I don’t think it’s a guarantee of a dynasty. Certainly has a very good chance to be one, but might take a couple years (by which time Jax will probably come coach them to take all the glory).

  44. @51

    1. I doubt he cares at all about the school system. He can send his kids to the best school in whatever city, boarding school, home schooling, build a freaking school if he doesn’t like the options. Overall I think LeBron cares as much as or more about on-court considerations than off-court. He is clearly an EXTREMELY driven individual whose goal is to be 1. the greatest basketball player ever and 2. a global icon billionaire. I think the biggest way location will play into his decision is in terms of #2, but at the same time winning tons of titles will boost #2 more than living in NYC.

    2. I never asserted that Gentry is better. I said he accomplished as much: 1 full season, 1 Conference Finals. It’s hard to make 2 conference finals in 1 full season as coach.My point is that Nash and Amare were why Phoenix won more than D’Antoni was, and Gentry’s success proves this. LeBron has not only won 60 games multiple times and made the conference finals in Cleveland, he’s also won the conference championship. If he wants to upgrade, D’Antoni’s resume doesn’t help. It’s not an upgrade over his own or Mike Brown’s.
    While he already has a well formed opinion of D’Antoni, if LeBron is seriously entering this process with an open mind there is still room to show him he may have certain misconceptions. Apparently the Knicks do not feel that’s necessary and prefer to hammer home their belief that 7SOL without an interior defensive presence can be the foundation of a dynasty. I disagree both with this strategy and the notion itself. I think your chances of building a dynasty with a defense outside the top 10 in terms of defensive efficiency (pts allowed per possession) are next to zero. I think D’Antoni can win titles with his system, but I think he needs a better defensive frontcourt than Bosh/Gallinari to do so.

    3. Again, I think they could have. It would have been something concrete for Walshtoni to point to in order to demonstrate their commitment to defense. Simple saying “we love defense” and dodging questions about whether Bosh will be the team’s 5 in the face of two seasons of defensive indifference or worse is not as good a sales pitch in my opinion as pointing to your 2010 draft and saying we actually give a shit about defense and here’s the proof. About the only other proof D’Antoni has is that he played Raja Bell and Boris Diaw…

  45. I think Ted is right about the Lakers vs. Miami…

    At the heart of it, the talent level of the Heat/Knicks/Nets/Bulls is pretty close, once you factor in the free agents. I.e. Once LeBron and another FA sign, it’s a totally different team. The Knicks might have a very slight disadvantage for 2010-2011, but slight, and not beyond that, once Curry is gone (or traded). And the Bulls, who have the best surrounding cast now, probably have the weakest management.

    Now, I don’t know if LeBron sees it the same way – but I don’t think his choice is going to come down to the surrounding cast. he knows the surrounding talent will follow him. It’s gonna come down to where he wants to live, where he feels comfortable, where he can best build an empire…

    ….and we have no idea what he’s thinking.

    I know there have been some leaks, about his leaning towards Chicago. But who knows where those leaks really come from? The picture is still very murky…

  46. @52

    “Defense is not more important than offense, IMO… although like Brian mentioned yesterday, it’s easier to find value (”Moneyball!”) on the defensive side.”

    I believe there is a quote where LeBron says exactly that: defense is more important to him than offense. I never said it, I said that LeBron said it. At the end of the day your opinion and my opinion don’t really matter, LeBron’s does. Every indication from D’Antoni is that he thinks offense is more important than defense. Trying to use a coach who thinks offense is more important than defense to lure a player who thinks the opposite is a questionable strategy… Personally I’d give up on D’Antoni in favor of LeBron before LeBron in favor of D’Antoni.

    In the context of three teams all trying to lure a LeBron/Bosh combo, I do think defense may be more important. Put LeBron and Bosh out there with a balanced rotation of average offensive players and you’ve got a top 10 offense. Throw in Wade or hopefully Danilo and you’re top 5. Therefore, the defense around those guys becomes more important in theory (obviously there’s a huge difference between a #1 and #10 offense, but the difference between a top 5 and #27 defense is going to be even larger). I don’t know that LeBron will think this way, but in my un-important opinion this might be the case. Here Chicago maybe has the advantage personnel wise and coach wise (Thibodeau), while Miami also has an advantage staff wise (Riley/Spoelstra) and at least tried to go big&tough in the 2nd round with Pittman and Varnado… plus Wade is a potential trump card.

  47. What cracks me up about most posters freaking out about the draft is that this is supposed to be a site focused more on metrics and more sophisticated ways of evaluating players. The two/three choices are, by any measurements, very good choices. But they weren’t on anyone’s radar! Experts don’t think they’re in the Top 100! We could have got them for free after the draft!

    Maybe, mabe not. I haven’t seen either play. I, too, was hoping for a defensive 5, since it’s an obvious hole in our lineup, even if we are able to sign two max FAs. But we have absolutely no way to know if the choices were good or bad until a couple years from now…except to extrapolate from the metrics, which are surprisingly promising for two mid-second round guys. However these players work out, I’m surprised people can’t give Walsh props. Had Morey made the same picks, everyone would have been bowing to his counter-culture genius.

    Again, not to say I’m delighted. But I will acknowledge that I don’t know, and I’m willing to consider there’s a larger plan beyond “look, Lebron, we value defense, because we picked two one-demensional defensive players, and one of them will have to work out, right?”

    Paging Slavko Vranes. Slavko Vranes, please pick up the “one of them will have to work out, right?” phone….

  48. And another thing about these “consensus” 1st round picks. Most of them acknowledged from the start that the draft was pretty even after the lottery or top 20. These same consensus guys (I’m looking at you, Chad Ford) were pissing themselves over guys like Darko, Pavel Podkolozine, Maciej Lampe, etc. The same consensus guys get stuff wrong EVERY YEAR, and yet everyone listens to them just the same.

    So remove the names and consensus “scouting reports” and let’s look at it this way. The Knicks had no 1st rounder. So they came out of the 2nd round with:

    1. the consensus best shooter in the draft. Led one of the best teams in the country in assists with 5.7 assists/40. Is a bit athletically challenged but remained active on defense with 2.3 steals/40. Unquestionably high basketball IQ.

    2. runner up for pac-10 player of the year. Per 40 averaged 24.3 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists 1.8 steals, 0.9 blocks, TS of 56-57 while being triple-teamed every night. 39″ vertical. By the way, he apparently was #2 on Phoenix’s 2nd round list according to sports radio out there, and PHX was very upset when he was drafted.

    3. arguably the best physical center specimen in the draft, who improved markedly over his 4 years in college. Averaged 20.7 points, 12.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 3.1 blocks per 40 and had a TS of >60 his last 3 years of college.

    so remind me again– what’s the problem?
    This is a stats based site isn’t it? And all 3 of these guys measure up well in this sense.

  49. Part of it is that these guys are on the older side, so less upside – they are closer to being finished products. And I think it’s part philosophy – these are the opposite of “need” picks; their strengths are on O, not D.

    But teams who pick for need are foolish! Take the best player available! We’ll have to see if these are really the best players available…

    Anyway, I’m good with Fields… an underdog to root for. Jordan is fine – that’s our big guy, to take a flyer on. Not so big on Rautins but we’ll have to see about that.

  50. Also, isn’t Thibodeau staying in Boston?

    He was announced as Chicago’s head coach awhile ago.

  51. @61

    I do think this is a pivotal year though because of the cba. The more I think about it, the more I believe that trading Gallo and Curry for cap space might have been the way to go. It still gives us two good supporting players in Chandler and Douglas, and the same amount of cap space as Miami so that we could also have a Wade/Lebron/Lee combo. I guess it depends on what you think Gallo will become. If he hits his ceiling (Nowitzki) then you have the 3rd of your big three right there (this is what Walsh and D’antoni are basically saying.) If he tops out at Stojakovic or Channing Frye, then maybe it’s not the right call.
    But seeing as how these free agents want to hit the ground winning titles, maybe it’s better to keep the more seasoned guys, TD, Chandler, Walker and leave the fledglings to a rebuilding team like Washington or NO. If Paul checks out physically, maybe you could swing a Paul/Posey for Gallo/Chandler/Curry deal? It stretches you thin, but it gives you that 3rd star. I mean, it’s still not enough for 3 max contracts, but you could do Paul/James/Lee or maybe Paul/Johnson/James. Maybe Gallo/James/Bosh is better long term but not right away.
    Don’t get me wrong, I love Gallo. Just thinking out loud here.

  52. David,

    I am certainly hopeful on Fields. However, there are dozens of 6-6 wings who have good college careers and never make the pros every season. Europe is littered with them. I hope Fields is different, but I have a hard time getting excited about a scoring wing with below-average athleticism (for an NBA wing) and an average jumper. You do have the guys scouts just miss on, but I’m weary of a solid across the board guy and/or volume scorer in the 2nd round. Those guys usually don’t slip off scouts’ radars. I’m trying not to judge the picks too much, but I’m just not as excited as I would have been if they had gone in different directions.

    The difference between Chandler and Fields, to me, is one of athleticism vs. skill. Zeke took Chandler as a raw project based on very good athleticism that has allowed him to guard the 2-4 in the NBA while blocking shots like a 4 and to finish well. Fields has the skill to shoot better than Chandler and actually draw fouls when he drives. At this point I have to question whether he’ll be athletic enough to stand out at the NBA level, though. Overall Chandler has been a below-average NBA player for 3 seasons, so comparing someone to him doesn’t get me too excited.

    Agree on Gallon. Stephenson I am impressed with as an athlete and defender. When Cinci played WVU in the Big East tournament I thought he was the best player on the court ahead of Ebanks and Butler (which a friend who’s a scout fervently disagreed with). He reminds me of a Ron Artest or Ruben Patterson as far as a raw offensive player whose biggest plus is pure nastiness (he has guard skills those two lack[ed] but also loves his–shaky–J more than them). I think his upside, should he get it/keep it together mentally, is on defense. He’s strong and quick. Could guard both guard spots and a lot of 3s. Offensively I’d hope he’d be versatile and semi-efficient but a 4th or 5th option.

    A lot of the motor questions with Jordan, I believe, spring from a question of whether he’s actually passionate about the game of basketball. He’s a bit soft and might come from the Jerome James school of “I got pushed into basketball late because I’m 7 feet but I have no real interest in the game, at least not enough to work the way you have to in the NBA.” This is totally racist on my part, but after the Balkman experience I have to wonder whether the guy will smoke himself out of the NBA too.

  53. Ted, D’Antoni got the ’05-’06 Suns to win 54 games and to the Conference Finals game 6 in the year that Amare got hurt and did not play and Kurt Thomas got hurt and did not play in the playoffs and Raja Bell got suspended a game and missed 2 more with a calf injury. FYI.

  54. @61

    “Now, I don’t know if LeBron sees it the same way”

    To me I think that’s the key. I do think the supporting cast is important. He’s had a very good but not great or nearly amazing supporting cast in Cleveland and is understandably disappointed with the results. NY, Chicago, and Miami are all nice cities. All pretty big. All have advantages. LeBron’s legacy–basketball, business, financial, socio-political…–comes down to winning a bunch of titles. We remember and praise and honor and pay the winners. Everyone who hasn’t won a title is remembered as great but…, everyone who wins a bunch of titles is immortal. He can’t win one title or two titles, he has to win a bunch. He can’t do that with a good supporting cast, he needs a great one.

    We all know examples of good/great NBA players who are terrible evaluators of talent/team-building as GMs, coaches, and/or announcers. I don’t know where LeBron falls as an evaluator of talent. What LeBron thinks of Rose, Noah, Gallinari, Douglas, Chandler, playing next to Wade, even Beasley, etc., etc. may play a huge part in his decision making. The Knicks can sell Douglas/Rautins as his Armstrong/Kerr, but he might look at them as 2 scrubby 2nd round picks (Douglas was just about a 2nd). He might look at Rose as amazing, or he might see an inefficient average playmaker whose primary value is defensive and clashes a bit with LeBron. Does he see Noah the defensive wiz and NCAA hero (“winner”), or does he see the loud mouth jack-ass who hated on Cleveland and has a limited offensive game outside of 3 feet and can’t body-up bigs? Does he know who Taj Gibson is? Does he remember Bill Walker the high school stud favorably or see the 2 knee surgeries? What is his opinion on Danilo? From one extreme opinion to the other teams can go from front-runner to eliminated.

    (PS… “where he wants to build his legacy” sounds like a sales pitch for NYC… If it comes down to city I don’t see how NYC loses.)

  55. @70

    Yeah, and he never made the finals. You can’t look at D’Antoni’s resume and say “that’s an improvement over LeBron’s career to date.” It’s not. LeBron’s won 60 games and made the finals. Steve Nash has made the conference finals with and without D’Antoni, Amare, Marion, and Gentry. He’s the one constant on that Suns team. Not D’Antoni. If the Suns miss the playoffs again this season it helps D’Antoni’s aura I think, by making the CF it hurts D’Antoni to me.

    Also, Thibodeau has a ring and I believe more than one other finals appearance as an assistant. Riley has fists littered with rings. It’s just not a differentiating factor in the Knicks’ favor for me. If the #1 thing LeBron is looking for is a coach he’ll arrange a s&t to the Lakers or Spurs… he’ll talk Riley out of retirement.

  56. @ 60: Burn. You got me. I concede “LeBron, I know there’s been some concern in your camp about our defensive effectiveness. But we’re addressing that. Look at our draft picks [insert name of player available at 38th pick] and [insert name of player available at 39th pick]” would have been a good pitch to LBJ.

  57. “What LeBron thinks of Rose, Noah, Gallinari, Douglas, Chandler, playing next to Wade, even Beasley, etc., etc. may play a huge part in his decision making.”

    I’m just saying the the #2 and #3 guys in Miami, New York and Jersey are still TBD — and LeBron probably knows that. If LeBron is smart – and if anything, he seems to be savvy about these things — he won’t be too worried about the nitty-gritty of the rosters, as they stand. He’ll look at the big picture – are these franchises well-run? Do they have financial flexibility? And they all do (I guess it’s an open question whether Chicago is well-run). He might have a slightly better supporting cast in Chicago this coming year, but he’s probably signing a 6-year contract.

  58. @63

    I don’t think anyone is saying anything different from you, or at least I’m not. Not all statistical metrics particularly liked these guys, though. Hollinger doesn’t have any of the 2 or 3 guys the Knicks got in his top 35.

    Among the undrafted guys Hollinger does rank in his top 35: Manny Harris (18), Jeff Foote (19), Marcus Blakely (22), Jon Scheyer (26), Brian Zoubek (32), Aubrey Coleman (33), Jeremy Lin (34), and Mikhail Torrance (35). Would be nice if the Knicks manage a couple of them. Of course, Hollinger mostly ignores defense and overvalues scoring volume… no who knows.


    Thomas made the point yesterday that the draft being pretty even from pick 6 or so on was a huge advantage for the Knicks based on where they pick and compared it to the 2001 and 2006 drafts where there were several lottery busts and 2nd round steals. That doesn’t mean the Knicks got any of the steals. They might have, they might not have. Let’s hope, obviously.

    The consensus is far from perfect, absolutely. It can be right as often as wrong though. This is especially true with NCAA guys that thousands of scouting/reporting eyes see and the consensus emerges from. (The three guys you mentioned were European bigs no one had seen play much against good comp, because they had never played much against good comp.) Teams that ignore the consensus on guys like Granger, Chris Paul, Blair, Lawson… on the one hand or Shelden Williams, Raymond Felton on the other are punished just as often as teams who go with the consensus.

    I’m very hopeful for the picks. I’m going to wait to see how they turn out. I think there’s plenty of room to discuss the overall strategy and the guys we liked who were still on the board, though.

  59. DS,

    Assuming you were being sarcastic in 73, you don’t have to agree with me. I think going defense in the early-to-mid 2nd round would have been a good sign of faith by the Knicks to LeBron. That’s my opinion. LeBron is on record questioning D’Antoni’s defensive commitment and the Knicks could have made a statement similar to the one Pat Riley did when he drafted Pittman and Varnado in the 2nd.

  60. Caleb,

    I disagree. He and Bosh and/or Wade will likely sign their contracts together in the same press conference. #2 will be in place. #3 will be in place anywhere besides NY.

    He’s on record saying he wants to compete for the title every season, and to a large extent whatever team he signs with has limited flexibility going forward. The ones we’ve been discussing the most are looking to add one or two more max/near-max guys also on 5 or 6 year deals.

    Cleveland is old, capped out, and won’t have high picks as long and they’re competing. Chicago has Rose and Noah and Deng in place (could obviously be moved, but not necessarily in deals that make them appreciably better), wants to sign another big FA to a long deal, and won’t have high picks if they’re good. NY and NJ have some flexibility. Cap space/Curry’s contract is nice, but LeBron has also seen Cleveland blow its cap space on Larry Hughes. It’s not a guarantee. I believe, rightly or wrongly, that the current roster will be a big part of the decision. Future cap space is something of an asset, but not a home run. There are just too many examples of former players with no concept of how to build a team (including MJ himself) and who do not value cap space at all. They’re competitors who want to get on the court and give you there all from day 1. And realistically you cannot commit hoping for things to happen down the road. You have to have something going on now, too. I think all three teams can make an argument they do, but it depends which one LeBron buys.

  61. I’m just teasing, Ted. You’re certainly entitled and I appreciate your view as stated in 76. We’ll agree to disagree about about the degree to which it might affect LeBron.

  62. Re: Thibodeau – sorry, I thought I had heard a report that he was actually going to stay in Boston. damn. I think the Kicks now lag behind Miami AND Chicago.

  63. FIRE SALE!!!!!!! Nets unload Chris Douglas-Roberts’s $750K/yr for a second rounder. Not sure I understand that move from the Nyets’ perspective. Was he overpaid at that price?

  64. What position do people assume D’Antoni wants to play Fields at? Has the team given any public indication? I sort of assume 4… Pretty classic 3, but between the rebounding and scoring more inside I’d assume D’Antoni sees him as a 4… Can he cut it there? He’s got a good, solid body, but can he defend the NBA 4? At the 4 lateral quickness would be much less of an issue I guess, and his jumper goes from average to a plus there.

    On the downside/floor I maybe see some Matt Barnes in his game… if he devotes himself to defense and really works on the NBA 3. Barnes to me is the kind of guy that with a different mentality is out of the league… bounced around early and had to define himself as a straight “role player” based largely on hard work. So if Fields doesn’t light it up off the bat, hopefully he’s got that blue collar mentality… (To state the obvious I guess.)

  65. DS,

    There have been rumors Nets wanted to dump CDR for a while. I guess with the organizational culture they had last season they needed to make some changes.

    I liked CDR as a 2nd round pick a lot, and by playing 2 NBA seasons he’s already proven to be a solid #40 pick (granted one season was on a 12 win team). He’s very much a borderline NBA player at this point, though. The only thing he really does is score (decent passer too), and he hasn’t managed to be good at that in the NBA. Bad jump shot, decent driver. Needs to really improve his J to have an NBA future, IMO.

  66. @60 paragraph 2 —

    Let’s not forget that Gentry learned SSOL under D’Antoni. If the Suns’ success was all about Nash and Amare, why did they stink under Terry Porter? Fact is, Gentry basically ran the D’Antoni system and got D’Antoni-like results. He didn’t run the Gentry system and get D’Antoni results. People are SO quick to discount everything D’Antoni did in Phoenix because he has not succeeded yet in NY with a totally dysfunctional and transient roster with a bunch of crappy overpaid whiny spineless backstabbing entitled losers.

  67. This just HURT. Effing Simmons (from his draft diary)

    “6:09: So Chicago traded No. 17 to Washington with Kirk Hinrich in return for the cap space to pursue LeBron and Bosh. This was funny because just four months ago the Knicks traded Jordan Hill (last year’s No. 8 pick) and their 2012 No. 1, and agreed to swap No. 1s with Houston in 2011 so the Rockets would take Jared Jeffries off their hands (who makes less money than Hinrich, by the way) so they could also pursue LeBron and Bosh. Might be time to take Donnie Walsh to the GM vet and put him down.”

  68. @85 – if it didn’t hurt so much, that would be hilarious. Well played Chicago, well played.

  69. Frank,

    People discount what D’Antoni did in Phoenix because he had an insanely talented roster that fit perfectly with what he was trying to do. I can’t think of another roster in the last 20 years that fit better with 7SOL.
    You are also quick to discount what Alvin Gentry did… he ran D’Antoni’s offense, but D’Antoni didn’t make his decisions for him and Gentry managed to get 2 bigmen on the court together (Lopez played a lot of his minutes with Stoudamire). Gentry has also coached under Larry Brown, Doug Collins, and Gregg Popovich and was 50 before he ever served under D’Antoni, so it’s not like he learned all his tricks from D’Antoni. I don’t know that Gentry is a good head coach (maybe, maybe not), but the idea that D’Antoni is the only guy who could coach Phoenix to a Conference Finals has been debunked. Other creative offensive coaches like George Karl, Rick Adelman, Don Nelson, Paul Westhead, Pete Carril… may have been just as successful or more so. I don’t think D’Antoni is necessarily a bad coach, I just don’t understand why a few good seasons made him into some sort of legend.

    It’s not just Phoenix and NY, D’Antoni also coached a bad Denver team that did have some talent and failed there. He’s had 3 coaching stops in the NBA and the best thing you can say is that his results have been commensurate with his talent level (the worst is that he underperformed in both Denver and NY, and was a good fit in Phoenix).

    Shaq was the focal point of Terry Porter’s Suns. The impression I got was that this point was hammered down Porter’s throat by Steve Kerr, or Kerr at least hired Porter with the intention of making this a reality.

  70. @85

    Doesn’t hurt me at all… I can’t stand Simmons and don’t read a word the guy writes. As a comedian he’s ok, but as a serious sports commentator I have no use for the guy. His whole job is to be an everyday Joe and make an ass out of himself writing about how much he loves Boston sports teams.

    Anyone who would seriously compare Jared Jeffries with Kirk Hinrich as far as trade value should not be covering the NBA as a journalist. Still, sucks that Donnie gave up so much.

  71. “6:09: So Chicago traded No. 17 to Washington with Kirk Hinrich in return for the cap space to pursue LeBron and Bosh. This was funny because just four months ago the Knicks traded Jordan Hill (last year’s No. 8 pick) and their 2012 No. 1, and agreed to swap No. 1s with Houston in 2011 so the Rockets would take Jared Jeffries off their hands (who makes less money than Hinrich, by the way) so they could also pursue LeBron and Bosh. Might be time to take Donnie Walsh to the GM vet and put him down.”

    There is no comparing the 2 trades. Hinrich is an actual useful 2-way player and was packaged with an immediate 1st round pick to a team with cap room who didnt have to give any players back. No way the Knicks couldve made the exact same trade the Bulls did by packaging Jeffries and a 1st round pick (which wouldve had to be in 2012) to a team for NOTHING. What team in their sane mind would actually give up current cap space for Jared Jeffries????

  72. Hey I just noticed me and Ted agree with the horrible Simmons analysis, bout time we agree on something!!! lol

  73. Hey-
    I usually lurk, but as someone who went to Syracuse and has seen nearly every game that Andy Rautins has played for them in his career, just wanted to share my thoughts on him as a player.

    When Andy first came to school, most people considered him a non factor; someone just taken because his dad went to school there and he was a local kid. But he improved greatly over his five years, to the point that as a senior he was one of the key players on a #1 seed. That being said, I’m not exactly sure how good he’ll be as an NBA player. Throughout his college career, he had the reputation as a great shooter. It wasn’t until his senior year he began to resemble that kind of player. His first 2 years (he didn’t play much as a freshmen), he shot about 36% from 3 and 71% from the line. Not bad by any means, but certainly not to the level where you think he’d make the NBA primarily as a shooter. Last year he improved that to 40% from 3 and 81% from the line, numbers much more in line with what you’d expect from a guy who is going to make his living as a shooter.

    Offensively, he really is going to have to rely on his shooting. He took 241 3’s and 56 2’s last year; this is not the kind of person who is going to be driving the ball much at all. He is a pretty good passer though; and he was able to pick up a fair amount of assists in large part because he would demand attention on the perimeter because of his shooting. With that being said, he does have the tendency to try for difficult passes, so there are going to be more turnovers than you would like.

    Defensively; well I don’t really know what to say. If SU played a possession of half court man to man defense after the Lemyone exhibition game, I’m not sure I remember it. We were exclusively a zone team. As a 2-3 zone defender in college, Andy was very good. He had good size for a college 2 guard, and frequently was able to play the passing lane for steals. But I really have no idea how he is going to guard at the NBA level, where man to man is much more prevalent. If I had to guess, I’d say not all that well, because I don’t see him having the quickness to stay with 2 guards.

    Bottom line I think he is a pretty heady player who can shoot it, but I’m not convinced he’s a good enough shooter to make his living purely only that. On most teams, he may or may not make the rostrer, but considering the situation the Knicks are in, he seems a lock to make the team. He will make his fair share of 3’s, and some nice passes, but there will be some turnovers and probably pretty shaky defense as well.

  74. In response to my Simmons posting (and I think you’re underrating his basketball knowledge. Granted, it’s REALLY creepy how much time he spends watching shows aimed at 15-yr old girls [The Batchelor, MTV] and obsessing about strippers/Vegas, he does know his stuff.)

    Couldn’t Walsh have waited til this draft and offered Hill/Jeffries to DC w/o giving up the future first/swapped picks? Hinrich’s really overrated (a taller DWTDD, if you will) and Hill’s got more value than the 17th pick (Seraphin).

    Yes hindsight is 20/20 blah, blah, blah. But I think most posters here were worried about the amount that DW gave up to dump JJ’s contract.

  75. @85
    Also worth mentioning that the Knicks needed to clear more than just Jeffries salary to make sure they had a shot at two max guys- it had to be Jeffries + Hill, Gallo, or Chandler.

    Also, I wonder what Walsh’s reputation is among younger players- I wouldn’t be surprised if they (wrongly) associate the good Indiana teams with Bird as much as Walsh. And unlike Pat Riley he doesn’t have a fistful of rings. I wouldn’t be surprised if they (like Simmons) see him as a crusty old-school conservative GM who the game has passed by. I think Lebron knows first-hand how one bad decision can derail a team (think Boozer or Larry Hughes) and will want to have as much faith in his GM as in his coach. So my worry is that Walsh more or less standing pat last night (which might have been the right call- who knows?) feeds that perception that the game has passed him by.

  76. WOW how about the latest news regarding LeBron NOT visiting teams at their cities:

    So, I think I might be aboard with Hahn’s strategy of making Bosh the #1 priority and making sure we sign him and build around him because Im unfortunately beginning to believe the national media hype that the Knicks dont have a chance in hell of signing LeBron. Ive never looked at it as LeBron or bust and have always said if the Knicks can build a solid 50-win team next season and build on that in the future I will be more than happy (hey another thing me and Ted agree on!! lol) but its gonna definitely be up to Walsh to really show how good a GM he is. Also if no LeBron its really imperative for Gallo to become a potential All-Star type player and soon.

  77. Hopefully Walsh/D’Antoni are better talkers/schmoozers than the Bulls front office which does have a reputation of behaving like assholes at times. lol

  78. @92

    Yeah, we worried about it, because we worry about everything (and ought to, considering what a dismal team we now support), but the final consensus was: if Donnie signs any two of LBJ, Bosh, or Wade, it was a fantastic trade. If not, we gave up way too much.

    So, we won’t really know until next week…though I suspect we gave up too much. Still, the shot at two of the great FAs has us all pretty excited.

  79. Fine, if it’s all about basketball, we should have a four team 3-on-3 tournament to decide who gets Lebron (I would’ve said 4-on-4, but the Heat only have 3 players.)

    NYK: Gallinari, Douglas, Walker (Chandler is rehabbing)

    CHI: Rose, Noah, Deng

    MIA: Beasley, James Jones, Chalmers

    NJN: Lopez, Harris, Lee

    All proceeds go to charity. This would be tough for us, but I think we could win. Lopez would be tough. But Douglas would lock down on Rose and Harris, no problem. Gallo will just have to play big, rebound and defend the post. I think we would win b/c of our 3-ball prowess.

  80. ESPN just had an hour NBA FA special and they predicted where all the FA’s are going and of course the only player they had going to the Knicks was Carlos freakin Boozer. Although when they talked about LeBron the new guy who used to work for the Blazers and was on the draft coverage on ESPN last night (sorry forgot his name) was the only person who said LeBron will go to the Knicks!! Optimism baby!! lol

    Certainly didnt make much sense that a couple of them had Amare and Bosh going to the Heat to team up with Wade. Not sure I see that happening at all but really in the end nobody knows and thankfully in a week to 10 days time we should know what will definitively happen. No more basketball stuff for me tonight, getting ready for the Yankees reunion with Torre in LA in a couple of hours….

  81. Saw that too. Just based on logic, if the Nix whiff on LeBron/Wade/Bosh, I don’t think they’re taking Boozer over resigning Lee.

  82. Saw that too. Just based on logic, if the Nix whiff on LeBron/Wade/Bosh, I don’t think they’re taking Boozer over resigning Lee

    Ah, but then you see, one hour TV specials on free agency and logic are often mutually exclusive.

  83. “Couldn’t Walsh have waited til this draft and offered Hill/Jeffries to DC w/o giving up the future first/swapped picks?”

    This is a good point, but as you said hndsight is 20/20, blah, blah, blah.

    I suppose it is true that Washington had cleared their books of Jamison, Butler, and Haywood by the time Walsh officially signed the McGrady trade papers. So he could have seen that Washington had cap space to spend and no one to spend it on. Considering they actually liked Jeffries at one point (though not as much as Isiah did), he could have exercised some impressing foresight and ditched Morey altogether…

    But at the time Walsh didn’t know that Washington was going to land the #1 pick, thus instantly changing their rebuilding strategy. I am guessing they are willing to take Hinrich, not only because they got the guy from French Guyana with him, but also because they want a positive mentor for Wall, to steer him clear of Agent 0’s pick-up poker games.

    If Walsh thought he was giving up too much to get rid of JJ, then he shouldn’t have made the trade. But not because he thought there might be something better on draft day. But there is a lot of frustration that comes with being a Knick fan. Blah, blah, blah…

  84. As for the Simmons dig, while obviously, yes, I agree that the Wizards got a whole lot less than the Rockets did for the same goal, I also think it is incredibly difficult to knock Walsh for not being willing to wait until the draft with Jeffries still on the books. I’ve been knocking Washington at least partially because such a trade didn’t seem possible at the trade deadline, but now it was – how could Walsh guess that Washington would totally change their priorities to the point where they were just willing to take salary dumps?

    The fact that Chicago gave away little to get their cap space is frustrating, but that’s not Walsh’s fault that the only GM willing to deal at the deadline was a good one while Chicago got to deal with a bad one now.

  85. Now that we’re not the only team with the ability to bring LBJ and a friend, I think our pitch has to be based on:

    1) MIke D’Antoni and how he wants to turn LBJ into a PG a la Magic (I know, defense wins championships, but we have to play the coaching angle)

    2) Our additional cap space in 2011-2012 and how we can go from a 50 win team to a championship contender with the addition of another FA

    3) MSG as the mecca of b-ball, no place like NYC, Messier, etc. etc.

    I think we’d all agree that with the Bulls new cap situation, LBJ’s best chance to win now would be with Chicago. So we have to play other cards…and pray!

  86. Think someone should start a thread where we can all discuss who goes where…cuz if we do this here, we’ll have a thousand posts in about 10 minutes.

  87. “go and do whatever it takes to get Chris Paul (dreaming)”

    Well….. if the Knicks end up with a few of the FA consolation prizes of it would give them more pieces to trade three months down the road… Say, Gay + Lee + Curry + Gallo for Paul + Okafor + Peja would work salary wise.


  88. I mean, it’s a serious price to pay, but Gallo & Curry for Paul & Okafor works too. And they’d still have the cap space to sign a player whose name rhymes with SheShmron Shrames and some low-priced pieces.

    A starting lineup of:

    PG Paul
    SG Walker
    SF Chandler
    PF James
    C Okafor

    Plus some combo of DWTDD, The Earl of Barron, Rautins and Fields off the bench. That’s a heckuva team.

    Hm. Maybe I’m not dreaming after all…

  89. New Orleans isn’t trading Chris Paul. Sorry, guys. They got themselves under the luxury line.

  90. I mean there’s always next year, and the year after… not like he’s ever going to sign an extension in NOLA, and they will start taking bids..

  91. Don’t like the thought of moving Gallo, even for Paul. The kid has tremendous promise and will be a bargain for a couple of years. So far, he looks like a long, athletic, freaky shooter that will stretch defenses more and more but can go inside and play D. He’s not Chris Paul, but he’s not making max money either. Dollar for dollar, he’s the much better value right now. Not to mention that Paul has had some health concerns, maybe not rivaling Gallo’s back, but at max money, definitely some concerns.

  92. Robert,

    I think you are forgetting how bad Jeffries is. Total blackhole of offense (can’t score at all AND turns it over 1/2 the times he touches it), and not good enough on defense to make up for that. Walsh spent a year plus trying to trade the guy, so I trust that he hada good read on his trade value.
    You also forget that D’Antoni never played Hill, and when he did he reduced him to a spot-up shooter. The #8 pick has a lot less value when your coach makes him look like a bust and publicly questions his work ethic.

    Kirk Hinrich is a good basketball player. He plays on both sides of the ball. While Jeffries has to sit in the corner on offense, Hinrich can run the offense and is a strong jump shooter. We’re talking about an 11th, 12th man who is a versatile defender if you put 4 scorers around him vs. a top 5 guy on a playoff team. Hinrich is overpaid, but I don’t think he’s particularly overrated around the league.
    Seraphin has a blank slate and “unlimited” potential that teams love. Hill was being treated like a bust by the team that just drafted him while Seraphin has a lot of upside for a 17 pick.

    I did think Donnie gave up a whole lot. My worry is certainly that he overvalued T-Mac, which is a bad sign when it come to 2010 free agency secondary options like Rudy Gay and Joe Johnson. I think Washington would definitely have taken good guard and pick over terrible but versatile player and pick that looks like a bust (which I think Hill would have continued to do since D’Antoni used him so poorly).

    Based on some of the things I’ve read from him, I don’t think I’m underrating Simmons as an analyst. Like I said, though, I try not to read his pro Red Sox agenda.

  93. @102 Brian,

    Chicago gave up “so little” in their salary dump because, you know, they were dumping a legitimate NBA basketball player… something Jared Jeffries is not. Kirk Hinrich is a guy you actually look to add to make your team better, Jared Jeffries is a contract you take back as part of a trade.

    Walsh also spoke with the Wiz re: Jeffries last summer if rumors were correct, so he might have known that they had zero interest in Jeffries. Or he might have just been unwilling to wait on the off chance the Wiz accepted a worse trade offer than they got from Chicago.

  94. Even at max money a healthy Chris Paul is still a huge bargain/value… He’s a top 3-5 player in the world. I really doubt they trade him until they have to, unless they get blown away… but that would be hard to do.

  95. here’s a question: If Hobson had been there at 38, do y’all think they would have gone Hobson/Rautins or Hobson/Fields?

  96. here’s a question: If Hobson had been there at 38, do y’all think they would have gone Hobson/Rautins or Hobson/Fields?

    I think the former. Fields had a better chance of falling out of the second round entirely – Rautins definitely would have been picked by somebody.

  97. Granted, doubling down on SF’s w/similar skill sets in Fields and Hobson (Side Note: Landry Fields and Darington Hobson together sounds like the name of a fairly pretentious law firm — “Landry, Fields, Darington and Hobson”) seems silly on face value, but supposedly the Lakers & Suns were hot for LF if the Knicks passed.

    And the Nat’l media’s “They would have gone undrafted!” meme looks sillier and sillier the more one examines it.

  98. And the Nat’l media’s “They would have gone undrafted!” meme looks sillier and sillier the more one examines it.


    Especially since the reports (before the draft, not hindsight pieces) suggest that if Fields was not taken by the Suns or the Lakers, he was at least under consideration for their picks, and yet he’s not in Chad Ford’s Top 100? He’s being seriously discussed for picks in the 40s and yet he isn’t in Ford’s Top 100?

    And then his lack of a presence in the Top 100 is somehow not a mistake on Ford’s part, but rather a sign that the Knicks made a mistake by taking someone not on his Top 100? ‘Tis Silly.

  99. For what it’s worth, I’m sure it’s been written before, but both Wages of Wins and Ed Weiland of rated Fields as an early 2nd.

    But hey, Chad Ford is like, you know, NEVER wrong. He’s a professor and stuff.

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